behind the screens

“The gesture of occupying a digital space as a way to illustrate the shuffled dynamics of cultural expression, identity and consumerism driven by vast digital networks is also pertinent in the work Behind the Screens by The Pattycakers. An art-duo comprised of Adrienne Matheuszik and Keiko Hart, The Pattycakers investigate the ambiguous permutations of multi-ethnicity through performance and new media installation. While the Internet can be a site of chaos and clashes in ideology, it also carries the potential for innovative cultural hybridity, collaboration, and connectivity. Behind the Screens highlights processes of adaptation, appropriation, and translation embedded in the internationally popular cultural phenomenon of Karaoke. Behind the Screens is an interactive installation that allows viewers to step inside and perform within a karaoke video. “Karaoke” is a transliteration of the Japanese language term for the entertainment activity meaning ‘empty orchestra.’ Musical backing tracks are provided for an individual to simulate a music video performance, inhabiting a digitally mediated appropriation. While the music video performer is behind the ‘screens’ in a green screen room, viewers outside are invited to singalong with the lyrics that appear on screen. Despite a suggestion of cultural hollowness in the reenactment of idol identities, there are also opportunities to exercise empathy and sincerity in the performer-audience exchange that implicates spectators as participants. Qualities of identity are adopted through cross-cultural pollination and recontextualization, whether consciously or not. Behind the Screens utilizes karaoke videos as a framework for exploring methods of collaborating and connecting with each other as well as experimenting with notions of private and public realms in relation to physical and digital spaces.”

Iskandarsjah, Karina. Networked Justice. Toronto: Trinity Square Video, July 2019. Exhibition catalogue


Behind The Screens is an interactive installation made using MaxMSP, webcam and greenscreens. Participants enter an enclosed space and select a karaoke song from a selection of duets, crossover hits and internet classics. Once the song is selected they choose a background in front of which to per - form. The composited image of the selected back - ground, participant and the lyrics of the chosen song are displayed within the greenscreen space, as well as in the gallery outside of the enclosed area. The lyrics only appear while the participants are moving to create a dynamic relationship between the participant, their performance and the installation interface.

behind the screens installation documentation